Sunday, October 31, 2010
Book Review: Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes. At the age of fifteen Rahab is forced into prostitution by her beloved father. In her years as a courtesan, she learns to mistrust men and hate herself. Into the emotional turmoil of her world walks Salmone, a respected leader of Judah. Through the tribulations of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth in God and find healing from fear and rejection.
It sounds so cliche to say this was a fabulous book, but when a book leaves me completely speechless when I've turned the last page, then, you know it gets a very high recommendation from me. I've read several fictional tales about Rahab, but never one whose story centered on her life after Jericho, and the man who was her husband.
This book read like it should've been divided into two parts: the first part dealing with her life as a harlot and the fall of Jericho, and the second part dealing with her life after Jericho. The first part seemed a little rushed at times, but that really didn't bother me since I already knew that story. What was great to read were the emotions that Rahab felt regarding her father's insistence that she become a harlot. As a young girl, she loved and trusted her father, and with his decision, he tore those feelings away from her.
The second part of the book was what really made this book simply incredible. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I've never given much thought to Salmone's brief mention in the genealogy of Jesus. Ms. Afshar did a marvelous job of bringing his character to life in this book, and giving me a glimpse at his and Rahab's story. I found myself on the verge of tears at least three times, mostly during scenes between Rahab and Salmone. He had a tendency to come off as a gruff individual at times, but once he realized his feelings for Rahab, he became such a tender person toward her. Their relationship was not without it's problems, mostly because of her past, but when they both understood their own emotions, their love story became one of the most beautiful ones I've read in a very long time. And one more tidbit...the scene between the two of them that explains the title for the book will take your breath away.
I truly hope Ms. Afshar has another book coming out in the near future because she is definitely an author that I will be reading more of. It's been awhile since I've read a book that really got to me the way this one did. I'm a firm believer that sometimes, a certain book crosses my path at just the right time, and it's one that had I read it at any other time, it may not have made an impact. Pearl in the Sand was the perfect book for this current season in my life, and for that, it will always hold a special meaning for me.
**Thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy for review.